The Monday Papers

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Sundays are for playing board games. Like, loads of them. Back to back. Apart from when you’re reading about video games.

I’m opening the Papers this week with one of the many editorials about Steam’s recent policy decision, because of course I am. I’ve gone with Oli Welsh’s for Eurogamer, because he does a good job of identifying exactly what Steam is within the world of PC gaming – and why it has a responsibility to, yunno, accept some responsibility.

Yes, game creators have a right to free speech, to make games on any topic they like, as transgressive and offensive as the law allows. But they do not have a right to publish these games on Steam. For Valve to confuse these two things is a deluded fallacy, and for it to offer this delusion as an excuse for an abandonment of moral values and an abdication of social responsibility is rank cowardice.

I found Midboss(Em)’s interrogation of ‘asset flipping’ interesting, even if I think some of it must have gone over my head. Em makes some good points, though surely some instances of asset flipping are recognisable as such and DO constitute a lazy way of profiting off of other people’s work?

An asset can even be more than a digital file of some sort that is copied between game makers and games, in practice it can extend to a concept. Pipes in Flappy Bird, for example, are described as “ripped” even though they are demonstrably not the same image as the one used to represent pipes in the cited Mario games, yet when the same thing appears in several beloved prestige indie titles, it’s a loving homage, an engagement with the form’s history and conventions, bla bla bla… well, which is it, though? Coming back to the jarring, low poly white-gloved hands of the hiker in Sexy Hiking, aren’t they weirdly evocative of Mario as well?

Edwin Evans-Thirlwell, occasionally of this parish, reviewed Cultist Simulator for Eurogamer. I wrote a supporter post earlier this week that touched on the same link between boredom and brilliance that Edwin talks about, though I’m more conflicted about Cult Sim’s greatness than he is. It’s repetitive and dull and a little bit magic, and I’m still not sure how I feel about that.

This mundane rhythm keeps up throughout the ensuing 20 or 30 hours, as cards and timers of all kinds slowly cover the tabletop, each accompanied by a gravid yet delicate prose snippet about the game’s curious, alternate-1920s England. It’s the bassline for an experience that is as much an investigation of mind-killing drudgery as it is a homage to the wayward imagination – indeed, an experience that derives much of its mystery and threat from their inseparability.

I had no idea there was an entire world of racist mods for Paradox games, but I do now thanks to Luke Winkie’s article on Kotaku. I appreciate Ted52’s attempts to clean up the alt-right praise surrounding his mod, but I despair at the way he doesn’t take that as evidence he shouldn’t have made it in the first place. His mod isn’t quite as bad as the explicitly racist ones mentioned elsewhere in the piece, but it still clearly enables and encourages racism – and that’s obviously not something the world needs any more of. (Seen as it’s so relevant, I can’t resist dropping in this excellent ContraPoints video about understanding the tactics of the alt-right.)

[Ted52] swears up and down that his mod isn’t meant to be digested as a political statement, or a conduit for some sort of Nazi fantasy, but he’s still been inundated with those kind of fans. “It doesn’t feel great,” he says, when his community is overrun by “either by far-right forces or by trolls pretending to be far-right.” Obliterating the Steam forums, he says, was a necessary first step. Unfortunately, as any fan of Paradox games knows, that air of xenophobia in the scene isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

On the Verge, Patricia Hernandez wrote about a developer who responded to a pro player’s “joke” about shooting up his studio – by drawing a dick on the special gun cosmetic he’d won in a tournament. It’s an interesting story, and I’m glad Hernandez asked an online harassment researcher what she thought about it. My initial response was ‘oh, that’s neat’ – but yeah, it probably isn’t.

Although there are some instances where responding individually with empathy or levity can help change behavior for the better, that isn’t scalable to large volumes of abuse — and it can also reinforce negative behavior, particularly if the person making the threat is looking for attention or a reaction. “The norm we see again and again online is that the way to be seen is to be inflammatory,” says Lo. “When people who are playing a game don’t like it, they harass the developers in the forums as a form of exercising power or to get them to do what they want… You don’t want to validate threats of violence as an option for being heard.”

I stopped reading Astrid Budgor’s breakdown of horror game Paratropic halfway through when I realised she’d made me desperately want to play it, and I didn’t want to see any more spoilers. I’ll be sure to come back to it though, because this is whip-smart stuff.

The game’s fascination with eerie frissons in familiar places, with the intangible border between here and there, evokes, among many other things, the writing of J.G. Ballard. The Ballardian is marked by alienation, masochism, urban structures haunted by emptiness, and the hollow violence of wealth. But where Ballard’s characters were often disaffected upper-class types, Paratopic depicts a precariat milieu of dingy apartments, highway gas stations, and grimy diners. These are the spaces accessible to people with no money, people who may be desperate or disenfranchised or simply passing through.

Amanda Hudgins wrote about how Gamergate nearly made her leave the industry. I don’t have anything to add, just read it.

Don’t tell me this isn’t about women. I’ve been here since the beginning, when it was just slut-shaming one developer. When it was calling her and masturbating into her phone because she released a game about depression. I’ve watched women flee from their homes, give up their careers, all as their lives have been splayed on the altar of journalistic integrity. I’ve seen the effects of #GamerGate, the vitriolic core. It may have skinned itself in another cause and paraded itself around, but it hasn’t changed. Not really.

I posted about this the other day, but here’s Derek Yu on Steve Gaynor’s Tone Control podcast. I’ve since listened to it and I’ve now worked out every single detail about Spelunky 2, but I’m not telling.

Music this week is Fade & Fall by Eliza Carthy & The Wayward Band.

45 Comments

  1. BooleanBob says:

    Arguably more interesting than Valve’s policy change has been the disconnect between the various game sites’ response to it and that of their readerships. Of the dozens of Bellevue-slamming editorials released in simultaneous broadside, the comments everywhere I looked came out moderately-to-strongly in favour of Valve’s decision. It’s been weirdly fascinating to see how neatly support and detraction have polarised between the professionals on one hand and the commentariat on the other.

    • spacedyemeerkat says:

      Yes!

    • LearningToSmile says:

      The reason why I wholly support Valve’s decision is because for smaller self-published titles they are still a de facto monopoly. Because they control the market to such a degree, their curation becomes functionally no different from censorship, since if you’re not on steam, you basically don’t exist.

      I’d buy the arguments of personal responsibility(even if I still didn’t exactly agree with them) if we had a healthy and competitive market where multiple viable options exist, but we don’t.

      • malkav11 says:

        I am certainly bemused by all the articles going “Valve is in charge of the only real way to successfully sell a videogame to the wider audience” (which they are) and somehow concluding from that “therefore they have a responsibility to make moral decisions about what they sell” as opposed to that being the best possible reason for them to be a hands-off as humanly possible and keep their own morals, whatever they may be (and I am nowhere near as confident as the article writers that they would be on the side of good – there are plenty of people that think things like showing gay people as the perfectly ordinary part of life that they in fact are is some sort of political assault, and it’s entirely possible that some of those folks work at Valve) out of it.

        • Babymech says:

          It’s also pretty weird to say “This company has far too much power! They should be completely careless regarding how it’s wielded! Woooo…”

          • malkav11 says:

            There is an enormous difference between saying “they should exercise that power as little as practical and only with great care” and saying “they should exercise that power carelessly”. I’m pretty sure you’re arguing for the idea that they should be gatekeeping and IMO that has a lot more potential for carelessness than their currently expressed policy.

    • MiniMatt says:

      Probably should keep in mind that the commentariat unlikely to be representative of the wider public – contrary positions fill up comment sections, nods of agreement aren’t worth logging in for.

    • Excors says:

      Readership is not the same as commentership, so it may be dangerous to draw too many conclusions from comments. I imagine that typically people are less likely to comment on an article if they agree entirely, than if they disagree and feel they have some important points to raise.

      In this particular case, perhaps part of the issue is that the pro-Valve argument (“free speech!”) is easy to make concisely, while the anti-Valve argument (“yes, free speech is good, but …”) is more complex and needs more subtlety. Subtlety is much easier to express in long articles by professional writers than in off-the-cuff comments by random internet people. (It doesn’t help that half the commenters evidently haven’t even read the article they’re commenting on.)

      Or maybe the staff at written-word game sites are old fogeys who are simply out of touch with today’s gamers, and they will soon die out when we’re all watching teenage Youtube influencers instead. In the meantime, I appreciate their work.

      • Archonsod says:

        I think it’s more because it’s incredibly hard to espouse such an argument without sounding like Jack Thompson. You can kind of see it in the article when he starts talking about school shooters – Active shooter is a callous game that disrespects the victims of such events (Thompson made that same argument about GTA IIRC) and should be banned, but not the entire genre because it’s possible someone “will one day use video games to explore the topic in as nuanced and thought-provoking a way”.
        I think most of the objections aren’t down to the argument delivery but a disagreement on the basis. Arguing whether Valve should act as a gatekeeper or not is somewhat premature if neither party can agree a gate does or should exist to begin with.

    • Fingolfin says:

      I suspect this has a lot to do with the fact that the writers of those articles probably spend quite a bit of time browsing the Steam store and its new releases, as opposed to most of the readers. Usually when I go into the Steam store it’s to search for a game that was recommended elsewhere (either by a friend or an article, mostly), and the few times I actually browsed it on the seasonal sales I didn’t see any of these controversial games.

      It’s actually quite ironic, because the less curated the Steam store is, the more we’ll need games journalists to recommend good games and filter out the bad ones.

      • Mahaku says:

        Thanks, I couldn’t agree more!

      • Babymech says:

        This is a great point – from commenters like Jim Sterling I’m ‘aware’ that Steam is supposedly a hellish pile of awful, no-talent, no-principles garbage, but I’m never going to run into that in practice.

    • Ghostwise says:

      I have strong objections to Valve’s absurd policy. But since saying this online online will get me mobbed by bros yelling “FREEDOM !”, I don’t discuss it.

      • pepperfez says:

        It’s remarkable that Valve’s imposition of perfectly arbitrary standards (“Trolling”? C’mon.) is made out to be the pro-freedom side of the discussion.

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      subdog says:

      That “commentariat”, at least here at RPS, was pretty heavily skewed by linking in some really nasty parts of reddit and other sites.

      It was abundantly clear that the loudest and angriest of the mob had not bothered to actually read John’s article or try understand his points, and were mostly concerned with shouting down “the SJW” menace.

  2. MultiVaC says:

    That first link seems to be broken for me so I can’t read the article, but it seems to touch on what I think is really bizarre about the way this whole argument is framed. It’s kind of telling of the ridiculous amount of power Valve has that we are talking about this issue in terms of free speech and censorship.

    Valve can’t actually censor anything at all, and no decision they make one way or the other has any effect on anyone’s free speech, period. Because they aren’t the government, and they can’t actually stop people from doing things; all they can do is choose not to sell something in their store, which is not even close to censorship. It’s like saying if Walmart didn’t stock a certain brand of potato chips those chips have been “banned”. It’s sort of insane, and is a perfect example of the creepy way giant tech companies try to position themselves as something more like governments.

    Valve is a distributor of products. They aren’t presiding over a natural and free ecosystem and deciding what should be permitted. They decide what they want to distribute, and if the answer is yes, then they are making a business deal to distribute that product by way of their store. They choose what they will enable, not what is allowed. And that is a huge difference.

    The question that Valve is dealing with isn’t “Should Nazis and trolls have the right to express themselves?”, it’s “Will you do business with Nazis and trolls by distributing their work to a much larger audience than they could on their own, in exchange for a cut of the profits?”. And Valve’s answer is “Sure, whatever”. Would any of us ever heard of Active Shooter or AIDS Simulator if it wasn’t for Valve and Steam? Probably not, which makes them responsible for it. They’re trying to act like they are just sitting back and letting people do their own thing, but really they are saying they will help anyone sell their shit, so long as the money is good.

    Admittedly, Valve is in a position now to shape the video game industry, and if they don’t sell something it will pretty much be excluded. But that’s only because we accept it. It’s the same way we’ve accepted that Facebook and Twitter are essential parts of our discourse because so many of us are beholden to their services. Companies like this pretend that they are just a natural part of our lives and it’s bullshit. It’s got nothing to do with censorship or free speech, and if we keep treating it that way then we are just elevating them to a position that they have no business being in. This whole libertarian “neutral” stance is nonsense, and if the whole video game marketplace becomes a dumpster fire by way of an avalanche of garbage pouring out of Steam it’s only because Valve was perfectly willing to keep being an unlimited source of fuel.

    • Frosty Grin says:

      Would any of us ever heard of Active Shooter or AIDS Simulator if it wasn’t for Valve and Steam?

      There are thousands of games on Steam most of us never heard of. In fact, that’s a very common complaint about the current state of Steam. So if you want to blame someone, blame the people who overreacted to these games, as well as gaming journalists.

      Admittedly, Valve is in a position now to shape the video game industry, and if they don’t sell something it will pretty much be excluded. But that’s only because we accept it.

      Nonsense. There is a natural monopoly at play – dealing with multiple storefronts is an extra hassle. The only way out of this is to separate Steam the platform and Steam the storefront. But Valve opening up the existing storefront is a step towards it, so if you feel like they are “shaping the industry” by not trying to shape the industry, I’m pretty sure you’ll feel the same about them letting anyone use the platform.

      • Kollega says:

        I think the issue is exactly this, what MultiVaC and LearningToSmile say. The discourse around Valve’s content policy is being framed in terms of “censorship” and “free speech” is because Valve is the number one distributor of games on PC, and thus if they don’t distribute something, it has a lot less chance to catch on (whatever this something might be – good or bad within anyone’s personal worldivew).

        Even if I go and buy a big-name title on a platform other than Steam, it’s likely to still come with Steamworks DRM and technical solutions. This means that “all roads go back to Steam” in a very real sense; like Frosty Grin is saying, it’s a kind of self-perpetuating monopoly, because no-one wants to deal with several clients for launching their games.

        So is it the modern-day state of affairs that Valve can bury some game’s chances at popularity by refusing to distribute it? Yes. Is that a natural or desirable thing? Hell no! And I think the solution, as stated, is to completely decouple Steamworks from the Steam storefront one way or another. That way, we could keep our already-existing libraries of games on the Steam platform, but not support Valve and their store policy with money if we dislike it for any reason. HOW we could possibly do that, given that regulation of big business has been, ahem, “going out of style” for the last twenty to thirty to maybe even fourty years… that’s an entirely different and much harder question.

        • Frosty Grin says:

          Well, except people criticizing Valve DO want to “bury some game’s chances at popularity” – that’s the whole point. They DO want to erase games like that out of existence yet pretend that it isn’t censorship. So, like I said, if Valve does decouple Steamworks from Steam, they will still get critised by the same people for “supporting” these games.

          • Kollega says:

            If our existing Steam libraries and the Steamworks DRM/technical platform become separate from Valve’s Steam storefront, I don’t think this will be an issue. Valve could sell whatever they want on their storefront – it’s simply that, if I decide I don’t like what Valve sell, I would be able to not give them any money, at least directly from my wallet to theirs, by buying games elsewhere, even if those games use Steamworks DRM (like most AAA releases today do). Kind of like I already do by getting most stuff on GOG – just for all releases, not only the ones available on GOG.

            Basically, what I’m saying is that I would certainly welcome a world of different competing storefronts with different policies – where I could easily support the store that e.g. doesn’t let neo-Nazi propaganda games onto its shelves, to use a very unsubtle example. That would be like… some kinda competitive free marketplace, I guess.

            Again, how that would be practically possible when Valve have a stranglehold on PC game distribution, and are unlikely to face any kind of regulatory action, is entirely unknown to me, and I don’t think I have any easy or complete answers to that right now.

          • woodsey says:

            @Kollega

            In addition to GOG there’s – off the top of my head – Green Man Gaming, Fanatical, the Humble Bundle, Amazon (physical and digital), and itch.io. And obviously Uplay, Origin, and the Windows store (bleh) for more specific publisher stuff.

            I mean, it’s pretty easy to not buy from Steam and not be left out of the loop as is, no?

          • Kollega says:

            That’s valid, but even I barely remember that Humble is now a full-fledged store and that Green Man Gaming exists. I’m not even going to start on the people less fed-up with Valve’s antics. I guess that’s the effect of a self-reinforcing monopoly for you.

            Note, however, that I may be a bad example: I buy games comparatively rarely, and my last big purchase was on GOG.

          • woodsey says:

            That’s fair. My own experience is that I’ve bought less and less off of Steam as the years have passed and other stores have caught up with sales promotions (to the point where I don’t know what the last thing I bought on Steam was), but I suppose there’s a healthy chunk of people for whom it’s the only outlet.

          • malkav11 says:

            Individual people can certainly avoid Steam by shopping elsewhere as long as they’re prepared to skip probably 70-80% of all games made for PC – and depending on one’s tastes, that might not be that much of a sacrifice. But most of the stores mentioned pretty much just sell Steam keys (and the occasional Origin or uPlay key for those companies). Enough people doing that sort of indirect purchase -might- have some impact on Steam’s monopoly, I guess, but I wouldn’t count on it. And in the meantime, since any game that is on Steam must be sold on Steam’s storefront and must abide by any gatekeeping that Steam imposes, anything purchased as a Steam key is just as subject to said gatekeeping, regardless of the store where you purchased it.

      • battles_atlas says:

        Of course there is a Streisand Effect in covering hateful content, but the idea that it has no influence otherwise is unsupportable. The Internet is full of communities that evolve and grow long before the media notice them. Was just listening to a podcast on Incels this morning, that community has been in existence since the 90s in one form or other, the press only found out when a member committed a terror Attack. Many many other examples available.

        If Steam becomes a home to large quantities of “extremist content” then they may remain niche, but communities will develop around them. Shouldn’t pretend otherwise.

        Of course this raises the central question of who gets to decide what is extreme, but it does need raising, and addressing, because it is not sustainable for the key industry platform to be profiting from – for example – communities who have mutated into rampant misogyny as sections of theIncel community clearly have. Steam cannot be mainstream and sell “Date Rape Simulator” at the same time.

        I keep hearing the “but Amazon sells all kinds of shit and no one complains” response, but people do complain – there are press stories every week about dodgy or illegal content on there,and a crack down will come, whether that’s led by publics or regulators. It will for Steam too if they go down this route. It’s just a question of when the spark comes that starts the fire (see Facebook + Cambridge Analytica).

      • Merus says:

        I agree the core problem is that the Steam launcher is hooked up to the Steam store and people basically want a launcher for all their games.

        I feel like this is something Microsoft could probably fix (and they have tried: Windows 7 had a ‘Games’ launcher that didn’t quite work). They would probably need to force the issue, and the odds of Microsoft doing it in a way that didn’t send up the antitrust flares is low, but they’re the only ones in a position to address it.

        • battles_atlas says:

          The way to address it is for regulators to break steam up – as you say expecting MS to play honest broker here is foolish. It has happened before,and GDPRs steps towards data ownership is a move in that direction.

    • simontifik says:

      Well put MultiVaC. I’m getting real tired of this ‘we just provide a platform it’s not our problem what people do with it’ attitude of tech companies.

  3. Phantom_Renegade says:

    I think the article about Heart of Iron misses the point. The game inherently allows you to be a nazi, the modder didn’t introduce that. All the modder did was allow you to be a nazi in current times. I feel like everyone who attacks him for that should be attacking the developer of the game first and foremost. He absolutely should have made the mod, if only to expose the hypocrisy.

    Let’s be real here, nazi’s now are the same as nazi’s then. Playing a nazi historically is just as bad as playing a nazi now. All the mod did was reveal how many people are getting the game for the sole purpose of creating some sort of holocaust.

    • Premium User Badge

      Drib says:

      Is playing as Nazi Germany really reprehensible? Isn’t it just, you know, playing a videogame as an evil character? It’s not like there’s even references (I… think) to most of the non-military evil that Germany got up to, it’s all just presumably happening in the background.

      Which isn’t great from a whitewashing perspective, but at least isn’t just fodder for real fascists to wank over. Yeah, this mod makes it possible to be a prick in modern settings, but like you said, you could be a prick in the core game. For that matter you can be a prick in basically any game if you put some effort in.

      I just don’t get the problem.

      Though I do agree it’d be annoying to make a modern-day interpretation of HOI and just have a bunch of morons spamming up your forum with /pol/ memes or something. Ugh.

      • Agnol117 says:

        Is playing as Nazi Germany really reprehensible? Isn’t it just, you know, playing a videogame as an evil character?

        This is kind of how I see it. I can think of a few RPGs that let you make pretty reprehensible choices (in Mass Effect, you can be responsible for a few different genocides if you want to), and while I suppose one could argue there’s a difference with the Nazis because of real world baggage, that’s the sort of slippery slope that leads toward censorship. I mean, there was an old Civil War game that I used to play (can’t remember the name) where I’d play as the South because it was more challenging (weaker starting position, more difficult win conditions) rather than out of any political motivation. The option to play as the “bad guys” isn’t really the issue here.

        Honestly, I don’t think the mods are the issue, either. The notion that the mod shouldn’t have been made because the alt-right latched onto it like they did isn’t a very sound one — there are videos of Watch_Dogs where the players go around shooting people who are revealed to be of various minority groups by the little phone thingy. Does that mean Watch_Dogs shouldn’t have been made? Alternate histories are perfectly valid, especially in a game like this, and saying that ones that appeal to certain political groups shouldn’t have been made because of the appeal to those political groups is alarmingly Orwellian.

  4. woodsey says:

    I like Oli’s writing a lot normally, and am almost always in agreement with him, but I found his piece to be rather unconvincing.

    At one point he seems to accuse Valve of having weak leadership and a poor corporate culture because the 300 people that work there have different opinions on what is obviously a controversial subject, and that they’ve taken that into account in their reasoning.

    Personally, I don’t really care either way. If they decided to curate it themselves, and much more heavily, it wouldn’t bother me, and I’m not overly concerned by the free-for-all approach either.

    The real problem with Steam is the nightmarish groups created under the community tab, which they do desperately need to wrangle under their control.

    • Archonsod says:

      To be fair to Valve though most of the Communities are moderated by the developers or publishers rather than themselves, so how toxic a given community tends to be correlates with how much effort the publisher/dev are willing to put in to policing it. I also have a sneaking suspicion certain publishers deliberately use the Steam community as a kind of ghetto for the undesirables they don’t want stinking up their own forums.

  5. Sly-Lupin says:

    The strategy (or grand strategy) genre in general has always had a fairly large number of white supremacist/reactionary/alt-right/whatever fans. Owing primarily I think to the number of historical games and the tendency of developers to (often unintentionally) whitewash their historical settings. In Rome: Total War, for example, the only POC in the entire game were “mercenary units” — IE units that could only be purchased, and served no other purpose than to fight and die.

    I am being charitable, I suppose, by calling it unintentional. I want to say it’s a result of video game developers consciously emulating hollywood historical epics, and copying the good along with the bad. But another part of me sometimes thinks they deliberately cater to that crowd.

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      Drib says:

      Couldn’t you play as Carthage in Rome Total War? An African nation? Couldn’t you play as a few middle eastern nations too?

      That said yeah any game where you can run an empire, you can probably run a crappy, racist, whatever empire. I don’t think this is a fault of the genre, just a trait of it. Playing as the bad guy isn’t exactly new. Are we going to fuss at Dungeon Keeper for promoting torture or something, now?

    • LovelyWeather says:

      Rome also infamously had a rather inaccurate Egypt, since they intentionally used an out of date military so it would look and play more distinctly from the Greeks. Maybe he’s talking more about unit portraits and stuff? I don’t know.

      I do think some games make the racism problem worse. It’s not just that Paradox games let you play as some rather brutal regimes, its that the games kind of ignore that. Colonialism is a huge part of Europa Universalis, for example, but the nature of it often goes unseen or is euphemized. I understand while the developers made that choice, but it has consequences.

      • wengart says:

        At the scale of Paradox games its seems rather hard to really “confront” the consequences. I mean if you are playing historical Germany at the scale where you might literally be fighting the battle of Stalingrad and seeing your men reach their high water mark West of Moscow what does Nazi war crimes represent?

        Functionally you have a drain on manpower as the people killed are unavailable to you, a certain number of troops have to now deal with partisan forces, you have to fight in Warsaw when the uprising happens. There is a scale where you can tactfully confront war crimes, genocide, etc… but I feel like most Paradox games are too abstract for that to be much more than some numbers you have to juggle. “Oh I need to build more motorized transport because the Einsatzgruppen demand more trucks”

        • LovelyWeather says:

          This wouldn’t work as well in Hearts of Iron, but Europa Universalis or Crusader Kings could probably tackle this a bit through events. I think there’s a few already which largely just indicate “this historical policy has gone into effect”. Or you could just be more explicit about things like “you just deployed troops to crush rebel sentiment in the area”, where you currently need to read a little between the lines to see that you’re committing what would now be considered war crimes.

  6. Harlaw says:

    Thanks for linking to that ContraPoints video! I wasn’t familiar with her work but I found it pretty informative.

  7. Cederic says:

    I read Amanda’s article. I find it badly written; perhaps writing isn’t her forte anyway.

    I also find her points laughable. She’s acting as though only women online get abuse, which is farcically wrong. She’s discussing an entire topic without once acknowledging the very real issues that were raised and that have led to a change in behaviour across the games journalism industry. She’s also presenting a criminally lopsided view of affairs, neglecting poor behaviour (including harassment and worse) from people with very different positions.

    Still, it’s better than Oli’s outrage at Valve letting their customers choose which games to buy. How dare they!

    • GeoX says:

      Somehow, it’s that pointless little passive-aggressive insult at the start (but obviously not actually pointless, since the whole point is self-evidently just to be a dick) that elevates (?) this comment from typical lunkheaded misogyny to something truly…special.

      • Shinard says:

        I like it, it’s a good time saver. I only have to read a line before I know that the commenter is a dick – much better than being 3 paragraphs in before I know for sure.

    • Shinard says:

      1) It’s clearly not an objective discussion of the issue, but a personal description of her reaction to the issue. So she didn’t go into the higher level politics of the situation because that wasn’t the point (and frankly, when death threats start coming out, I’d say that they should always be the main focus and that whatever politics motivated the death threat becomes less relevant).

      So yeah, of course it’s “criminally lopsided”. It’s a personal opinion piece. Not everything has to be fair and balanced.

      2) No, she’s not acting like only women get abuse online. She is acting like women get worse abuse online than men, and from what I’ve seen, yeah, fair.

      3) Whatever your view on the Steam policy issue, I’ll bet you a fiver this blows up in Steam’s face in a very real way before 2020.

      • Cederic says:

        1 – That’s a valid point, although death threats seemed to fly in all directions. That sadly appears to be the first call for many small children online, and it was good to see that the FBI determined that there were no credible threats against this lady or her friends

        2 – We disagree on this. I’ve been told online to kill myself three times in the last day and all I was doing was playing a game.

        I didn’t ring the FBI. I laughed and sent some virtual hugs to one of them. In some peoples eyes that makes me a rapist.

        3 – I hope not, but I wont take your bet :)

        My thanks for being excellent to me in your other comment. I shall refrain from name calling in return as I have the maturity to understand that alternate viewpoints exist and can be valid.

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